WASHINGTON – The identify of the world has modified because the final time the Toronto Raptors visited the Washington Wizards within the playoffs.
That isn’t all.
Three years after getting swept by the Wizards within the first spherical of the playoffs — with the ultimate two video games coming at then-Verizon Middle — the Raptors roll into Capital One Area on Friday night time with a 2-Zero edge within the best-of-seven collection.
“We had some powerful experiences on the market, particularly within the playoffs, proper?” Jonas Valanciunas advised the Toronto Solar after Thursday’s observe.
In 2015, the No. 5 Wizards — led by veteran Paul Pierce – pulled off a light upset of the No. Four Raptors, closing out the collection with a 31-point rout.
This trip, the No. Eight Wizards, who performed a big chunk of the season with out level guard John Wall, have been once more thought able to upsetting the now top-seeded Raptors, however have not proven proof of that.
Toronto, in the meantime, seems comfy being the hunted and are up 2-Zero in a playoff collection for the primary time of their historical past.
“A number of years in the past, we needed to have that [underdog] mentality, that chip on our shoulder mentality, or else,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey advised the Toronto Globe and Mail. “So we’re rising, I believe our guys are creating a psychological toughness that it’s important to need to be the favourite.”
The Raptors ensured the Wizards would not steal a recreation in Toronto by exploiting Washington’s protection for seven Three-pointers and 44 factors within the first quarter of Tuesday night time’s 130-119 victory. Washington, which trailed by as many as 23, pulled inside 113-108 within the fourth quarter earlier than Toronto unleashed a 19-Four run.
DeMar DeRozan scored a profession postseason-best 37 factors on 14-of-23 capturing as Toronto shot 51.7 p.c from the ground. Valanciunas added 19 factors and 14 rebounds.
“We’re capturing ourselves within the foot popping out to sluggish begins, permitting guys to get open threes, permitting guys to get these pictures, permitting guys to get layups,” Bradley Beal advised the Washington Submit. “It must be one or the opposite. We won’t quit 3s and layups, or we will be down 20 within the first quarter.”
One vibrant spot for the Wizards was reserve Mike Scott, who had 20 factors off the bench and was on the ground when Washington rallied.
Down 2-Zero, Washington coach Scott Brooks might choose to go along with the 6-foot-Eight Scott instead of 6-11 Marcin Gortat, who has struggled at each ends so far.
“Once we go small, Mike’s a man that may shoot from the three, after which they change smalls on him, he can positively rating within the publish,” Wall mentioned.
The transfer may improve the within benefit for a Toronto staff that outrebounded Washington 48-34 in Sport 2.
The Wizards may additionally use extra offense from Beal, who’s 11-of-28 in two video games.
“That is a bit bit on him, a bit bit on me, a bit bit on John [Wall]. We’d like him,” Wizards coach Brooks advised the Globe and Mail. “We’ll have hassle beating this staff if he isn’t going to play higher. And he’ll.”
Washington didn’t take pleasure in a powerful home-court benefit this season, posting a 23-18 document at Capital One Area, however Casey is prepared for the worst.
“It’ll be a hostile atmosphere,” Casey advised the Globe and Mail. “They will be enjoying in a determined mode, we have to proceed to be hungry, we have to proceed to go in with a fighter’s mentality to start out the sport as we did at residence.”